It was found that among women in the age group of 15-24 the prevalence of AIDS dropped by 49%. A 23% drop was witnessed among men in the age group of 17-29.
Hence the researcher, Dr. Simon Gregson of Imperial College London, concluded that behavior is a major factor playing an important role in the spread of the disease. The findings were reported in the journal Science.
The researchers also feel that the behavioral pattern could be influenced by the fear of HIV and AIDS. Added to this factor other factors such as Zimbabwe's well educated population, good communications, and health service infrastructure played a crucial role in bringing down the prevalence rate.
The study included 9,454 people, who were first interviewed in 1998 and later in 2003. It showed that in 2003 the prevalence reduced from 23% to 20.5%.
AIDS has created a global pandemic infecting more than 40 million people. According to the United Nations (UN) survey it has killed more than 3 million people in 2005 and infected 5 million new patients.
But recently the UNAIDS has noted a decline in the spread of AIDS in three sub-Saharan African countries: Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe. UNAIDS also credits that it was due to the changes in sexual behavior and increased usage of condom (>80%) in Zimbabwe.
Peter Ghys and colleagues at the United Nations Joint Program on HIV/AIDS in Geneva, and colleagues said almost 30 million new HIV infections worldwide could be prevented in the next 10 years with stronger prevention programs in low- and middle-income countries.